Rafael Nadal Wimbledon 2022

“If Rafael Nadal wins Grand Slam race, questions will need to be answered,” says Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl believes the restrictions put on Novak Djokovic due to his vaccination status is undermining the GOAT race against Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic is currently one major behind the record 21 titles set by Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard will get the chance to extend that lead this year with Djokovic unable to enter America, costing him a chance to win the US Open.

That comes after Nadal also won the Australian Open this year after Djokovic was deported in a vaccination row, and Lendl worries history is now in danger of being undermined.

“At the moment, Roger seems to be out of it, because he hasn’t played for a long time and he is also the oldest,” Lendl told Nove TV.

“If Novak wins the most Grand Slams despite that (the vaccination restrictions), I think we will have an answer. If Rafa wins one more title, I think he will have to answer the question about the vaccination and the fact that Novak could not play.

“And I don’t think that’s fair. I’d actually like to see someone have a two, three, four title advantage at the top.”

The Grand Slam and GOAT race is arguably tennis’ most contentious issue, with fans of both players often getting embroiled in heated arguments over it.

Ivan Lendl, though, says he is does not have a favourite, but he does want a definitive answer before Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic finish playing.

“I don’t care who it is, I don’t have a favourite,” he said. “Just for the sake of answering that question, to be clear. And, not to say ‘If this man could play, maybe it would be different, your record is not that good.’ That is not fair.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.